According to the reports, Qatar's Industry and Commerce Minister Hassan Abdulla Fakhro told his Israeli counterpart in a phone conversation that his country was willing to export natural gas to the Jewish state "for an unlimited period of time and below market prices".
The Israeli minister, the reports said, "voiced his appreciation for the Qatari government's stance" on the issue.
It should be noted that Qatar is an important player in the global natural gas market. It controls 15% of the world's gas reserves and is considered a leading global supplier in this field.
Reports on talks between Israel and Qatar on the issue of a gas deal have surfaced in the past. Initial talks were held in the early 1990s, but in 1997 Israel declared that the option was no longer on the table.
In 2008, then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with the Qatari energy minister and discussed the possibility of importing natural gas from his country. The talks did not materialize into a deal.
It is unclear whether the reports published Wednesday are true. The attempt to link Qatar to Israel may have been initiated by different Arab elements as an "act of revenge" following the coverage of the recent revolutions in the Arab world by the al- al-Jazeera network, which is owned by the government in Doha.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd
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